The Global Online Academy Program Opens New Possibilites for Students


Credit: Caleb Bae

GOA student, Afsana Dhali’s presentation on the problem of food insecurity for children of NYC. GOA students work on projects like these throughout the school year on different topics.

The Global Online Academy Program Opens New Possibilities for Students

The Global Online Academy (GOA) is a non-profit organization that has formed a consortium of approximately 90 independent schools around the world, predominantly in the U.S. The GOA provides a variety of remote classes that are taught by teachers all around the world. Schools like Hackley, who are members of GOA, allow their students to take offered classes as though they were part of the school’s curriculum.

Hackley’s administration had several reasons for joining GOA.

“It was a combination of things, I think a lot of GOA’s values and goals fit with a lot of ideas at Hackley. I think it was an opportunity to expand the offerings at Hackley,” said Christopher Arnold, Hackley’s Global Online Academy Site Director. “And I think COVID accelerated our joining, as they offer a lot of professional training for teaching over zoom. However, either way, we were eventually going to join.”

Hackley first partnered with GOA during the spring of 2019 and offered students the opportunity to take their classes during the summers of 2019 and 2020. This year, for the first time, Hackley has allowed students to take GOA classes during the school year, with some limitations. For example, Hackley does not allow students to take GOA classes that are offered in Hackley’s curriculum but allows students to take classes like computer science in the summer to prepare for the school year. Currently, thirteen upper school students are taking GOA classes.

Students value several aspects of GOA, including the flexibility it provides and its reach into other communities.

“I think it’s really good if you have something you want to learn about a lot. My course selection was heavier but I kept the 5 core majors for all 3 years before this, so it was a good change of pace. You meet a lot of new people from different places which is an added bonus,” said senior Nick Garland.

The classes offered by the GOA program are all technically “electives,” but because of the heavy workload, Hackley counts them as majors. Students can take four majors plus a GOA class; however, these classes are only one semester long. This means that students have to pick two classes to complete the year.

One challenge students faced during their experience with GOA was the workload, as much of the work was asynchronous. Students were expected to finish all their work in time which was a struggle for some as they had no class time to work on it. Students used Zoom for individual check-ins with their professors and when working on a group project with their classmates.

“This is the one difficulty I had, and I know other people who did it had trouble with this too.” Senior Nick Garland said, “It’s a lot of work and there’s no class time to get it done. Meeting with your professor is also difficult from my experience since he was working from Thailand, which meant morning scheduling was scheduled for his night blocks.”

As of now, Hackley plans on continuing their partnership with GOA for the foreseeable future and expects their relationship to continue to grow.